Michael P Pagano Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Michael P Pagano

Associate Professor
Department of Communication, Fairfield University

Michael was an Army medic in Vietnam, earned a Physician Assistant (PA) degree & then a PhD in Health Communication. He was Professor & Chair of a new PA Program in IL then moved to NY where he became Senior VP, Assoc. Creative Dir. (Copy), at LLNS. In 2019, he retired after 42 years as a PA. He is a tenured Assoc. Professor at Fairfield U. teaching undergrads and grads in health, organizational, & interpersonal communication & health studies courses. He has a wide-ranging research agenda & h


Michael is an Oklahoman transplanted to Connecticut and that geographic diversity is a metaphor for his diverse careers as well.  Interdisciplinary and applied approaches to teaching and scholarship mark his professional journey.   After serving as an Army corpsman in Vietnam, Michael became a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C).   He enjoyed the teaching role of being a PA and detoured to graduate school earning an MA in English and a PhD in Communication with a focus on health communication.  Over the past 42 years he practiced as a PA-C and combined patient care with his passion for teaching and his interest in exploring health communication from: provider-patient interaction, provider pedagogy, and organizational communication perspectives.  Currently, he is retired from PA-C work, but continues to teach full-time in a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate: health, organizational, and interpersonal communication courses, including interdisciplinary offerings for health professions students (RN, premed, predental, prePA, psychology, etc.).  His most unique course has been offered annually for the past 10 years, COMM 4341 End-of-Life Communication which provides students with an opportunity to spend 20 hours of service learning at the CT Hospice applying their classroom studies vis-à-vis interactions with dying patients and their families. In addition, he has a wide-ranging health and organizational communication research agenda.  His unique background has contributed to a breadth of publications including: six books on health communication, and 3 articles co-authored with Dr. Eileen O’Shea, and others, related to the development of a Health Communication Assessment Tool (HCAT) for patient simulation (one of which was awarded 2015 article of the year by Clinical Simulation in Nursing Journal).  He has served as the Director of Graduate Studies for the MA in Communication Program, as well as interim Director for the Health Studies Minor and Masters in Public Administration Program. He and his wife, Canera are avid golfers and love spending time with their grandchildren, Caitlin in NH, and Scarlett and Wyatt in CA.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    42 years of clinical experiences (Surgery, Emergency Departments, Primary Care, Occupational Health) as a PA-C in OK, WI, & CT.
    30+ years teaching undergraduates, graduates, and professional students healthcare, organizational and interpersonal communication courses, as well as writing and health studies courses.
    Research areas include: patient-provider, provider-provider, and provider-organization communication; healthcare pedagogy; medical records (handwritten and electronic); health care organizational communication.

Personal Interests

    Michael, enjoys sharing life and golf with his wife, Canera, as well as spending time with their three grandchildren: Caitlin in NH, and Scarlett and Wyatt in CA. He is an avid golfer, writer, and reader. And pre-COVID-19, loved to travel with Canera.




Nursing Education Perspectives

"Evaluation of an innovative curriculum enhancement: The Conversation Project"

Published: Aug 28, 2020 by Nursing Education Perspectives
Authors: Pagano, M., Mager, D., O'Shea, E., & O'Sullivan, C.
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Communication Studies

Two northeast nursing schools piloted an innovative curriculum to teach The Conversation Project (TCP) to the next generation of nurses. The goal was to educate 26 graduate nursing students about how to have end-of-life and advance care planning conversations with people before they experience a crisis.

Health Communication Journal

"Learning about dying and living: An applied approach to end-of-life communication

Published: Jan 01, 2016 by Health Communication Journal
Authors: Pagano, M.
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Communications Studies

The purpose of this article is to expand on prior research in end-of-life communication and death and dying communication apprehension, by developing a unique course that utilizes a hospice setting and an applied, service-learning approach. Therefore, this essay describes and discusses both students’ and my experiences over a 7-year period from 2008 through 2014.

Clinical Simulation in Nursing

"Validating the Health Communication Assessment Tool (HCAT)"

Published: Jan 01, 2015 by Clinical Simulation in Nursing
Authors: Pagano, M., O'Shea, E., Campbell, S., Currie, L., Chamberlin, E., & Pates, C.
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Communication Studies

We assessed the Health Communication Assessment Tool © (HCAT) with international and interprofessional health care educators. Participants were health care faculty who teach using clinical simulation. The study found that the HCAT demonstrated international applicability. Findings further supported the validity and reliability of the HCAT.

Clinical Simulation in Nursing

"The development of the Health Communication Assessment Tool: Enhancing relationships, empowerment and power-sharing skills"

Published: Nov 01, 2013 by Clinical Simulation in Nursing
Authors: Campbell, S., Pagano, M., O'Shea, E., Connery, C., & Caron, C.
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Communication Studies

This pilot project developed an instrument examining student nurses’ health communication. Responses on a 24 item check-list during simulations by third /fourth year pre-licensure nursing students in a baccalaureate program in Northeastern North America were randomly chosen and examined. The HCAT demonstrated internal consistency and was useful in evaluating communication behaviors.

Clinical Simulation in Nursing

"A descriptive analysis of nursing student communication behaviors"

Published: Jan 01, 2013 by Clinical Simulation in Nursing
Authors: O’Shea, E., Pagano, M., Campbell, S., & Caso, G.
Subjects: Education, Health and Social Care, Communication Studies

This article describes a pilot study to examine communication behaviors in nursing simulations. The nursing and communication faculty researchers used an interdisciplinary descriptive approach to examine 55 student nurses in 19 video recordings of patient simulations. The results demonstrated that using an interdisciplinary process can lead to a more diverse and thorough assessment of communication skills.

Communication Law Review

"Conflict of interest, bias, and manipulation: Reassessing prescriber education and the Learned Intermediary Doctrine"

Published: Jan 01, 2010 by Communication Law Review
Authors: Pagano, M.
Subjects: Health and Social Care, Communication Studies, Law

The purpose of this essay is to explore how the pharmaceutical industry’s influence impacts the drug approval process and the resulting information provided by drug manufacturers to healthcare providers and ultimately to patients. For nearly half a century, United States courts have held under the Learned Intermediary Doctrine that the makers of prescription drugs are responsible for educating prescribers, not patients, about their products.

Women's Studies in Communication

"Communicating with Female Patients: Affective Interaction during Contraceptive Counseling and Gynecologic Exams"

Published: Sep 01, 1987 by Women's Studies in Communication
Authors: Ragan, S., & Pagano, M.

This study was undertaken to examine the ways in which birth control information was disseminated to female patients who requested such information.